So I've strayed from my Must Read in 2017 list already! I can't help it- I see a shiny new book on the library shelf and I HAVE to read it. What I like about today's blog post is that I had never heard of these titles before I read them. I think I might have found some new favorite authors.
I subscribe to A LOT of different library blogs and none of them have even mentioned this book. I feel like Christopher Columbus discovering a hidden gem. This one will be an IMMEDIATE addition to my library.
At first I thought The Secret of Goldenrod by Jane O'Reilly was going to be a scary book. Creepy house on the cover, the word "secret" in the title, and a porcelain doll that comes to life (there is nothing creepier). It has all the makings of a frightening ghost story, but it's not spooky in the least.
Trina and her father move from town to town fixing up old houses. When they arrive at Goldenrod, she has to start over AGAIN in a new house, new town, and new school. The difference this time is that everyone swears Goldenrod is haunted. It's hard enough to make friends without living in a supposed haunted house that's rumored to have cast a curse on the town. Trina soon finds a secret room with a doll inside that is at least 100 years old. Imagine her surprise when the doll suddenly begins to talk. Augustine, the doll, helps Trina discover the true secrets of Goldenrod. Can Trina prove that Goldenrod isn't haunted the way people think it is and fix the fractured town?
I found this book to be a really unique take on a haunted house. It is haunted- just not the way I thought it was. The house has a tragic history, but instead of being dark and scary, O'Reilly keeps it magical and fun. Before this book, everything I ever read involving a talking doll was terrifying, but Augustine isn't what I first imagined. What little girl doesn't wish for her favorite doll to start talking? I've been ruined by horror movies and forgot that. As for Trina, like many middle grade book characters, she struggles to fit in with her peers. She's confused about her absent mother, doesn't want to be babied by her father, and is desperate to stay in one place. It's easy to read and a definite page turner. Great for a child that thinks they want a scary book (but deep down they aren't ready). LOVED IT!
Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp isn't a new series, but it's new to me. I found it just in time as the third book is due this Spring.
Ivy Pocket is a twelve year old orphaned maid who finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery ghost story. No matter what she does, Ivy makes one mistake after another, but she would never admit to anything being her fault. She is kooky and unfiltered, and if you ask her, the smartest, most talented, prettiest girl in the room. The story starts with her dunking her employer's head in a bowl of punch. Of course it isn't Ivy's fault that her employer has "brain fever" (according to Ivy of course). Fired and penniless, Ivy accepts a deal from a rich Duchess to deliver a cursed necklace to the granddaughter of an old friend. Ivy embarks on a dangerous adventure that brings death and villainous characters her way. The magical properties and mystery of the necklace bring catastrophe into Ivy's life, but her ridiculously inflated ego keeps her from understanding just how dangerous her situation is.
I think that it will take a mature reader to truly understand Ivy. She is horribly rude with no filter but hilarious at the same time. She doesn't take the blame for anything and I still can't quite decide if she's clueless or brilliant. She invents fanciful stories about her past and her parents that I know aren't true, but I wish they were for her sake. The mystery is very imaginative and kept me reading to the very end. I'm torn on the ages for which I would recommend this because it's dark- think Coraline and Lemony Snicket. It's that Victorian Gothic kind of dark. There are old legends and ghosts and some evil characters in this story. I think fans of scary books would like it, but be careful of readers who frighten easily.
It is often difficult to find biographies for very young students. The Who Was/ Who is series is very popular, but I wanted something that even younger students would enjoy. I wanted something quick and full of pictures. More specifically, I was looking for a biography that I could read aloud in a 15 minute time frame. I found all of that in the series Ordinary People Who Change The World by Brad Meltzer. The illustrations are fun and colorful, and it looks like a graphic novel (which is very appealing to young kids). Each of the books, there are 12 so far, tells the inspiring story of people whose dreams change the world. Even if students can't read all of the words, they can gather enough of the story from the illustrations to understand what's happening. They are easy to read and very inspiring.
I HIGHLY recommend this series for grades K and up.